Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on March 24

ZURICH, March 24 Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:07am EDT

ZURICH, March 24 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to open lower on Monday, in line with European markets, with new signs of a possible economic slowdown in China - the world's second largest economy - expected to weigh on the region's equity markets.

The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen opening 0.4 percent lower, according to the SMI future.

The following are some of the main factors expected to affect Swiss stocks on Monday:

CREDIT SUISSE

* Credit Suisse Group AG has agreed to pay $885 million to resolve claims by a U.S. regulator that the Swiss bank misled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into buying mortgage-backed securities that later went sour.

* Credit Suisse could cut up to 500 jobs at its private bank as part of a cost-saving drive, a Swiss newspaper reported on Sunday.

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NOVARTIS

Results of two late-stage clinical trials showed high efficacy for Novartis' drug secukinumab when used by patients suffering from moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, the Swiss drugmaker said on Saturday.

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SWISSCOM

Telecoms group Swisscom has 1.6-1.7 billion Swiss francs ($1.8-$1.9 billion) available for acquisitions in Switzerland and Italy, the company's chief financial officer said in an interview published on Saturday.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Gottex Fund Management Holdings Ltd. posted a net loss of $9.7 million after minorities for 2013.

* Roche said U.S. health regulators have approved its drug Xolair as a treatment for chronic idiopathic uticaria, a form of chronic hives.

* Swiss regional bank Thurgauer Kantonalbank said on Monday it has set the price range for its initial public offer (IPO) of shares at 64-74 Swiss francs per share, and expects the listing on SIX Swiss Exchange on April 7.

ECONOMY